It would be much shorter to list the genres that Red Giant Project doesn’t incorporate than the ones that they do. The core group of Blues Americana singer Shane Hall, lyricist Burkey, and producer Matt Madonna unite not only their musical talents but also an impressive roster of other artists. “The music goes everywhere from Lo-Fi to Neo-Soul to Jazz, Acid Jazz, all the way to Bass Music, Trap, Dubstep, all that grimier stuff. You have the beautiful musical aspect of it and also rappers that add a grittier element. Or we decide to do a New age Dubstep Trap song with a rapper,” says Burkey. These ideas can be heard on the group’s debut, self-titled album and is available now.
A red giant is a star glowing at its brightest, and that name evokes the skill of the musicians in the group as well as the beauty of the music. “It’s a very loose but intentional ship we’re sailing, and it’s going to be fun to watch and experience. Plus, we’re going to create tons of music that hopefully can be a part of people’s lives and special moments in their lives,” says Hall. The project was born when Burkey met producer Matt Madonna and recognized an instant symbiosis. “We got pretty motivated by one another and we started reaching out. When people heard his production, everybody was intrigued and like, ‘I got something for this.’” Madonna, a devotee of David Tipper’s work, was excited by a project without genre boundaries. Shane Hall joined, rounding out the core trio with his vocals, guitar, and songwriting.
Burkey remembers finding a focus for the project. “I said, ‘What’s the intention, man?’ What’s the narrative?’ Shane said ‘Beauty man, we’re here to make beauty.” Hall and Burkey had both recently become fathers to daughters and that drove their quest for beauty. “I’m really a different person since I had my daughter. Being selfless is what led to this project, and writing in an altruistic way with deeper aphorisms and universal truths that everyone could relate to — that happened organically,” says Burkey. Their song, “For You” promises lifelong support for their young girls. The music fades out to a sample of the girls singing, and they’ve closed festival sets with the song. “It’s like the best ending to any show ever,” Hall says.
Red Giant Project thrives in live shows, especially festivals. Onstage, they show off some of their instrumental weapons including John Avery on tenor sax, Tah Rei who plays a vast assortment of unique instruments including the Piccadilly baritone sax, various clarinets, and the Theremin. Plus when available, Rolling Stones’ sax player Karl Denson who’s also featured throughout the recorded album will join in on the live show. All the sounds and voices of Red Giant Project hold their own while blending in immaculate sound production.
At their shows, they can play up to 90-minute sets without breaks, making the performance a true experience. The sound starts off psychedelic and then takes off for other realms. “These bass producers are so good at mixing their audio files, they can have a key chain dropping in the left upper corner underneath what sounds like a bunch of rocks rolling down a mountain. And it’s all going to clear up and suck away when Shane goes to drop this beautiful guitar melody before we have the horns and Theremin and all that come in with the waves and the snare,” Burkey describes.
He adds that he was humbly floored by early responses to the band’s shows. He remembers a time they performed live for the 3rd time and before they had much of an online presence, didn’t even have a banner up with their name. He came home to 60 messages from attendees who’d sought them out on Instagram. “It was an organic response. And it was from love and it ended with the ultimate love. The experience ended with the love that we had when we wrote these songs for the people who we were dedicating them to.”